tv Washington This Week CSPAN October 26, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
edwards and maryland senator .obert -- barbara mikulski later, it did discussion about the constitution and the role of law with u.s. court of appeals ninth circuit judge. >> this weekend, book tv is like from austin for the texas book festival during coverage starts today at 11:00 eastern and includes two panels looking back at the november 63 assassination of jfk. sunday's coverage starts at noon and includes alan wiseman on our future on planet earth, and kate and asher price look at the texas wind power industry. the texas book festival -- live this weekend on book tv on c- span2. don't forget, you have a few more days to post your comments on this month's book love -- book club selection "walking with the wind -- cumbersome and john lewis on the early years of the civil rights movement."
stories are lots of about slaves and freemen of color who made choices. when i began this book, i was convinced that the americans were the good guys, and the british were the bad guys. but the more i worked on this project, i became more and more that as the war came to an end, that it was the americans who were not the good guys. it was instead the british and the spanish who were the good guys. the british and the spanish offered freedom to their slaves. andmen who served with them took them away from this land of bondage. for the americans, well, the americans will keep slaves in bondage until 1865. >> choose -- fight for the u.s. or five for your freedom with
the invading ritz tonight and i'm :00 eastern on c-span -- at 9:00 eastern on c-span3. >> the house ways and means subcommittee on human resources held a hearing on how changes to the foster care system might prevent youth sex trafficking. among the witnesses with a panel of lawmakers who offered different bills to address the issue, followed by testimony from a sex trafficking survivor and several policy experts. this is two hours.
we will start with my opening statement and the staff has -- some ofrt of a what i have experienced in my life. twos about to pages -- pages of my series of a shirt and a detective working with people on the street. i think they were trying to put me in a box to shorten up my statement, so i am going to read from that because if i don't refer make him i will probably get off into all kinds of different examples and stories, and they could take us a while. i think most people know that before being elected to congress, i spent 32 years in law enforcement in king county, and i became a sheriff in 1997. i left and january 2005 to come to congress. i saw firsthand the tragedies
that children face when they are not cared for by loving parents. it was in the sheriff's office where i first witnessed the horrors of child sex trafficking. it convinced me that we needed to do more to protect our youth at risk of abuse. began asummer, 1982, i 20-year journey that would focus my attention on this issue like nothing else ever could. on august 12, 1982 i was called to investigate the death of a young woman whose body was found in the green river just south of seattle in suburban cap washington. of course, i did not know then that that was the beginning of 20 years and i thought that i was investigating one murder. three days later, i received a
call about two more bodies being as i wasthe river, and investigating that crime scene, i found a third body on the banks of the river. ouring these victims began for the man who became known as the green river killer, who, once caught, d killing more than 70 young women who had been involved in the sex trade. of the 48 known victims of the green river killer, at least 17 were minors, children who had been abused or not but it -- or neglected, who had run away from home, who had been victimized and ultimately killed. 49gway led guilty to murders. like he said, probably killed 70
to 80. the sad part about this story is the families who will never see their daughters again. lives lost, of course, people recognize that, but the community did not see these children. driving from home to work, from work to home. they were invisible. this issue is not just an abstract problem from a faraway place. it is personal. as chairman, i focus on how we can approve the child where full system-- child welfare and help them lead to socialize. one of the most of the fitting examples of kids in foster care is when they become victims of sex trafficking. in 2010, officials in los
angeles reported that 59% of juveniles arrested for prostitution were in foster care. reported missing to the national center of missing and exploited children were also likely sex trafficking victims. 60% were in foster care or group homes when they ran away. research cited by the u.s. department of health and human services shows the majority of sex traffic youth experience sexual abuse growing up. victims of sexual abuse are 28 times more likely to be involved in prostitution been children who have suffered such abuse. children who have suffered such abuse. i think everybody in this room and everybody across america recognize we cannot allow this to continue. toowe it to these children turn our nation's foster care system to do all it can to
protect -- to protect them so they can live safe, happy, and successful lives. for too many kids in foster care, we are not living up to that promise. that is why the topic of today's hearing is so critical to me, and why i know it is important to each of our witnesses today. i look forward to hearing from bothof the witnesses in panels. i yield mr. doggett for his opening statement. >> to why so much, mr. chairman. we are -- thank you so much, mr. chairman and we are aware that 150 years ago our nation to ban all forms of slavery through the advantage of the 14th amendment, but the protection of that passage has alluded to many children who are enslaved effectively by really cruel masters. while there is not any one piece of legislation that will stop sex trafficking in children, we cannot allow complacency to stop us from doing everything in our
power to put a stop to this. our first task in this subcommittee is to ensure the child where for -- child nawaz sharif system -- child welfare system does not become a pipeline to prostitution. they are already prime targets for those who prey on children. a sense of isolation that whenme -- that often comes children are removed from their homes make them even more vulnerable care to children run away from him, the risk grows further still. without the protection of the foster care system, abused and neglected children would be even more at the mercy of predators and sex traffickers. the system needs to become more cognizant. i know one survey was conducted by the los angeles probation department revealing that a majority of the juveniles arrested on prostitution were in the foster care system already.
enough to set off an alarm for us. some policies that generally held foster children, such as better connecting them with relatives and helping them lead more normal lives, are important . this subcommittee has held hearings on these issues, and yesterday we passed a bipartisan legislation to better promote the adoption of children in foster care. i expect that we will hear about the need for increased housing options for the victims of trafficking, improve coordination and collaboration among all the various agencies and programs that come into contact with children, and that we need to ensure that children who are trafficked are not treated like criminals but the victims that they truly are. in texas, we have a number of champions who have worked on this. i look forward to hearing from ashley harris, who has come up from texas with texans care for children and to has worked with hugh,senator leticia van
representative thomson, and congress.ers of our i look forward to hearing from these colleagues on their recommendations for what legislative issues we can take and how we can work collaboratively on a bipartisan basis to address this truly serious problem. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. doggett. without objection, each member will have the opportunity to submit a written statement and have it included in the record. i want to remind our witnesses pleased to limit their oral testimony to five minutes. however, without objection, written testimony will be made a part of the permanent record. on our first panel this afternoon, we have heard from several of our own colleagues. it is somewhat unusual for a subcommittee to have the interest of a number of members. to haveally an honor
the four of you here. we will be hearing from senator via video presentation later on. the first panel is the honorable erik paulsen of minnesota, who by the way was acting chairman of this subcommittee last year. honorable texas, the karen bass of california, and unlimited, senator hatch of utah will present later. you aresen, recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member, mr. doggett. i want to thank you for bringing to light an issue that is all too often ignored. it is very easy and comfortable to think that sex trafficking happens only outside the united states, but the truth is that the exploitation of our children happens every day all across the country, and even in our own backyards. i recently visited raking free, which is a minnesota organization run by a survivor
of trafficking. whose mission is to educate and provide services to women and girls who have been the victims of abuse and commercial sex location. -- exportation. i was able to meet with victims and hear their stories. raking free has bet that are -- breaking free has beds that are supposedly for children of sex trafficking. these beds are almost always full. between 2008 and 2010, 83% of sex trafficking victims found within the united states were u.s. citizens, and the average age of a girl's entry into prostitution or sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old. that is the seventh grade. ripeoster care system is with opportunities for predators to exploit these young girls. recently, the chicago tribune reported how group facilities are the breeding ground for a recruit of children into sex trafficking. saying "because many girls in foster care feels starved for a
sense of family, extra say it is not uncommon for parents to target group homes and groom girls for prostitution by giving them attention and gftsifts. thinkften let the girls they are dating, and they even use one foster child to recruit others." youth in a foster care system are also more likely to become runaways or homeless at an early age. minneapolis police sergeant chris snyder who works full-time fighting sex trafficking says there is a strong connection with runaways and sex trafficking victims. he does all of the trafficking victims are a part of that appellation. youth to age out of these foster care system often have little or housingrts, limited options, and are at a higher the of ending up in streets. you that live the resident or institutional facilities often become homeless upon discharge. sadly, the consequences for these children are dire. girls who become victims of sex
trafficking face norm -- abnormalities including reproduction issues, ptsd, weight loss, and vitae disorders, and suicidal thoughts. disorders and suicidal thoughts. when i talk to experts, they say there is a general lack of understanding therefore the victims are not getting the proper services and care they need. earlier this week, i met with the ramsey county attorney just, and he said just like domestic violence is decades ago, child sex trafficking is not getting the attention that it needs. there is not a strong awareness youth trafficking problem. people do not know it is going on and therefore do not know to look for. in order to prevent youths from becoming victims, we need that her information as to what is happening, where, and whom. we need to identify trends and help fill any gaps. that is why earlier this year, i introduced a partisan left --
bipartisan representation along with representative slaughter. it takes an important first step by requiring that each state's foster care and adoption plan contains a description of measures to write services to children who are victims of sex trafficking. childrenequires welfare agencies to immediately notify the proper authorities when children go missing him either from their homes or childcare institutions. this information will go to the fbi where we can keep a consequence of -- a comprehensive database. and the victims are just that -- victims. not criminals, which they are sometimes labeled today. we need to make sure the victims are able to come forward without the fear of prosecution. and given the proper care and protection, they are not just thrown in jail. this is an issue that people do not always like to talk about. while we read stories about her going on in foreign countries, the reality is it is happening right in our backyards.
andooling our resources gathering ideas and intelligence from as many sources as we can, we can start to fight back and save the lives of these innocent youth. this legislation is a product of ideas from law enforcement and nonprofit organizations that understand the problem. also, they know very real what the practical ways are to combat it. i sincerely appreciate the opportunity to testify and command -- commend for bringing this to light. >> i would like to take a moment to point out for people who might be watching c-span and those in the audience, this is one of those few moments when you see some true bipartisanship. we have democrats and rubble cans here test -- and republicans testifying here today. it is an honor to have you, ms. slaughter. you are recognized for five minutes. you very much, mr. chairman, and i am very pleased to be here, delighted to go -- to cosponsor this with mr. paulsen.
coppersmith paul and i have worked -- congressman paul and i have worked on issues like this before. and also with karen bass. i thank you for holding if the given me the opportunity to speak and we have all said many times that we believe with our hearts that the children of this country are our most important resource. all of us who are parents and greater its know the links that we would go to to protect our children from harm. we wish that every child had the opportunity to grow up in a family that loved and protected them. unfortunately, that is not the case. as a result, as we are here today, 400,000 children are in foster care system. there have been great improvements in recent years in terms of reducing the numbers of children in foster care. increasing the number of children who find permanent and loving homes. we should acknowledge advancements that have been
made, particularly the focus on supporting youth as they age out of the system. the fact of the matter is the majority of foster care parents are loving and supportive individuals who open their hearts and their homes. care parents could rightly be described as the better angels among us, and they deserve to be recognized for the incredible difference they make in the world every day. but far too many children in foster care system do not have the benefit. even for those incredible champions, protecting young people in foster care from the effects of the outside world is a very big challenge. statistics tell us that foster children are exceptionally vulnerable to those who seek to exploit children, as commerce and pauls -- as congressman paulsen has told us. 60% of runaways who are victims of sex trafficking were at one time in the custody of social services or in foster care. york,home state of new 85% of the trafficking victims
have prior child welfare involvement. to say i am completely appalled and embarrassed by the number is an understatement. while state specific numbers vary throughout the country, they all tell us that much more needs to be done. i am proud to be one of the childsors of hr 2744, the sex trafficking data and response act, sponsored by my colleague, mr. paulsen. in this bill, to go over it again, but we cannot hear it too much, this is such an important bill. it must be addressed if we are going to reduce the incidence of sex trafficking in the u.s., which is growing. at terrible rates. it identifies and documents children within the welfare system who are victims of sex trafficking. then it trains the child protective services workers to identify and provide the
services needed to victims of sex trafficking. it coordinates efforts with state law enforcement, juvenile justice, and social services and reports the number of children known or suspected to be victims of trafficking each year. all of these approaches are good and necessary, but the part of this bill that is a primary importance to me is that the child abuse prevention and treatment act will be amended to require that child victims of sex trafficking will now be considered victims of abuses and neglect, making them eligible to see -- to receive services within the child welfare system. persona that a young rescued from a sex trafficking operation would be considered an offender within the juvenile justice system is shocking to me and to you as well, i am sure. these are victims in the strongest sense of the word, the children who have been preyed upon by those who would take advantage of the situation,
the fear and loneliness that comes with the foster care system, to use them to their own advantage and profit. those children deserve help and they chanted healing and not a criminal record. i have worked for many years on issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in the military. in 1994, i drafted the original violence against women act with my good friend and former -- provide our service men and women with the resources, support agencies suggested in case of sexual assault and to prevent sexual assault before they occur. in the process, i watched women go from victims to survivors after receiving services from the agencies. ts uptched the incidenc metabolix -- of domestic violence fall by 67% since it passed. we are addressing sex trafficking among our foster youth.
they say millions of victims of domestic violence have been drawn out of the shadows and given a chance to stand the cause violence against women act. i believe this legislation goes further than that today. other items being considered before this committee are the path forward for these young people who deserve all the assistance that we can provide. thank you very much, mr. chairman, mr. doggett, members of the committee for your time and your consideration today. ,> thank you, ms. slaughter fourth your hard work in this issue in the team you have there with you at the witness table. mr. poe, who i call judge, and you call me sheriff, he has done a lot of work in this area, and easedo leads to have -- pl to have the judge here. you are recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you for inviting me to testify on this
important issue. as you have mentioned, in my er life,-22 years at the criminal courthouse in houston, and eight years as a prosecutor. that is where i first heard about you, sheriff. the whole country appreciates your relentless work on the green river murders, even to this day. child abusers, sex predators are the worst criminals in our society. -- often the justin system the justice system ignores the victim of this crime. when i first came to congress, cognitive and jim and i founded the victims right caucus. and i founded jim the victims right caucus. this is important to me because my hometown of houston, texas is unfortunately a hub of this despicable crime of human trafficking. many are not aware that modern- day slavery occurs right here in the united states, as ranking member doggett has mentioned. the problem is very real,
especially among vulnerable youth of the child where for system. story, whichs was given to me by shared hope international. after her parents passed away, she was placed in foster care at the age of three. she was shuffled from home to home until the age of 12 when she was finally adopted by a family. at thegan hanging out wrong place, the corner store, and her family did not know that she was there. she met a person who she thought she could trust. little did she know the person she met at the corners are was not a friend at all -- at the corner store was on a cardinal and one day she got into a fight with her parents, she called the one friend she had and he picked her up your she did not know this call would change her life forever. this individual was actually a sex trafficker. he was violent. he beat anna. he sold her body. the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse continued for a long time. he threatened to kill her family if she ever call the police.
he also told her that if the police never found her, they would arrest her, and that is exactly what happened. she was arrested and charged with prostitution. she was treated as a criminal, but she was a victim of crime. anna became convinced her family did not wonder any longer and she felt helpless and scared. this is a typical situation unfortunately for girls like this. after four years of this abuse, she escaped and was reunited with her family. through strength and her resilient spearing and with the annaof her mother, now runs a ministry for sex trafficking survivors and an outreach program for at-risk youth. story istely, anna's not that unique in this country. these cars stayed with her and made her vulnerable to -- the scars from the foster system stayed with her made her vulnerable to sex trafficking. these factors make the children more susceptible to trafficking. the child what for a system --
the child nawaz sharif says -- the child welfare problem has many problems. sexust remember that child predators when they commit these crimes against our youth are trying to steal the soul of the victim when they commit sexual assault. this companion bill will be offered in the senate by senator korn and and white in -- coyr rnyn. it creates a domestic trafficking victims fund at the treasury financed through the fines on persons convicted of human trafficking and child exhortation, which can be used to find the support programs for victims.
criminals will literally play for the crime in the system they have created, including this bill and a number of other victims to ensure victims receive justice and traffickers and buyers are prosecuted. mr. chairman, across this country, 5000 shelters are for animals. i have gotten one of my three dalmatians from an animal shelter. i love those places. but in the whole country, there beds for minors of sex trafficking victims. the justice for victims act that i introduced, and iparty introduced the en -- i have already introduced the end to sex trafficking act, these will target criminals who purchase sex and are prosecuted just like the trafficker. the bill goes after the so- called anonymous buyer of sex trafficking. it targets the demand to stop the sale of our children. the days of boys being boys in our country are over when it tation of thesei
children, and the long arm of the lot is to go after these. i command you today. and that is why -- and that is just the way it is. >> and that is why we call him judge. thank you, mr. poe. has been passion on this issue. she and i have had number of discussions and attended events in speaking out. i really appreciate your presence here. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you very much for holding reicherting, chairman gert, as well as the meeting you had yesterday on the bill that we pass in bipartisan basis yesterday on the floor. i am very appreciative of your ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for foster youth and families. as i have traveled throughout the country as part of the foster youth caucus national
listening tour, it has been devastating to hear the children involved in the child worker system-- child welfare are especially susceptible to court and a manipulation by traffickers feared and los angeles, there is a specialized collaborative or house. this court is designed to serve commercially its bloated -- exploited youth. 80% of the growth of been previously involved in the child where for system. increasingly in the l.a. area and other large cities, gains are engaging in commercial sexploitation, too, selling girls in addition to drugs and guns. it is clear we need a comprehensive approach to prevent the victimization of our children. child where for a law- enforcement must work together to meet the needs of survivors and prevent the exploitation of others. unfortunate, the child what for system as a whole is not truly recognize trafficking -- child
hasare system as a whole not addressed the problem. i have experience in los angeles where i was talking to a child what their delight your -- a child welfare director, and i asked about the sex trafficking in the area, he told me did not exist. the day before, i had been at the fbi, and incendiary rhetoric that neighborhood was one of the most trafficked areas. so the child where for agency was not even aware of it. to address the gaps, i have along with myr -- colleague and cochair of the congressional caucus on foster youth, representative tom marino. primarily, the bill would help establish local plans to combat trafficking as well as ensuring national data collection in several important ways. the bill requires child welfare missing,to report
abducted, or trafficked you to be law-enforcement within 72 hours for entry into the national crime information center database feared often times these children are just viewed as runaways. the bill amends the child protection and treatment act to ensure that states developed country the -- comprehensive plans to identify and provide services to all victims of trafficking. this would include other youth who buy the car shall bash commercially exploited. you who might -- be commercially exploited. in addition, trafficking against child where file youth both save us a nationwide develops a proposal to collect annual data from state agencies and proposes an ongoing method of supporting and monitoring efforts of local agencies.are anxiet finally, the strengthening child welfare responsive driving act
or exceed department of health and human services to develop a public guidelines to assist child what for --child welfare agencies and perverting the exploitation of youth at risk from becoming victims. although hhs recently released guidance to child welfare agencies on this topic, there is room for additional resources and specific tools. the guidelines would provide examples, training material and screening tools, service delivery strategies, protocols andeffective crosses collaboration, best practices related to residential placement, but recommendations for documentation and data collection. something else that is to be addressed on a state level are girls who have been involved in the system, who have criminal records and have turned their life around and need to have those records expunged because we understand moving forward these girls should have never been arrested for soliciting to begin with. in conclusion, we cannot
continue to fail our nations children. as federal legislators, we have a tremendous opportunity to ensure that local plans to prevent exhortation arm plates as well as collect the necessary to informata strategies. while many of the social securities -- may require a monetary investment, these to not-- first steps require additional federal funding. it has been encouraging to see momentum on this issue throughout the three years i have served in congress, and i look forward to continuing working with my colleagues. thank you very much. >> thank you, ms. bass, pour your testimony. as i said earlier, senator hatch wanted to be here today to testify. he is the author of legislation that also seeks to prevent in foster care. we asked him to testify. he cannot be here, but he provided a video for us. next, we will watch senator hatch's testimony. before we begin the video, if
our member panel wants to leave, i know everybody has a busy schedule, you are free to leave, or you can stay listen to the senator's testimony. any of the members on the panel here who have questions, we will just meet you on the floor or will send to your office. is that all right? ok. thank you for being here today. >> chairman reichert, ranking member daughters, numbers of the subcommittee on human resources, thank you for holding this important hearing on preventing and addressing sex trafficking youth in foster care. i am pleased to tell your committee about legislation i've introduced in the senate. there is an epidemic of abuse in america today. recent reports estimate that hundreds of thousands of children and youth are at risk for domestic sex trafficking.
the rest of sex trafficking is compounded every year for up to 30,000 young people who are "emancipated" from foster care. too many of these emancipated youth turn 18, pack their few belongings in a trash bag, and are driven to homeless shelters, leaving them bald verbal and exposed to traffickers and other predators. -- leaving them vulnerable. children and youth are also at increased youth for trafficking -- risk for trafficking. in order to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care, systemic changes need to be made in the current child welfare system. the legislation i have entered is in the senate, the improving outcomes for youth at risk for sex trafficking, otherwise known i.o.youth addresses foster care systems that make children and youth particularly vulnerable to being sexually
trafficked. i would like to describe the highlights of the legislation to the subcommittee. mr. chairman, i am sure many americans would be surprised to learn that most child welfare agencies will not serve trafficked children and youth who are not in the custody of a biological or foster family or living in a group home. often these children who are not legally able to get consent for sex -- to give consent for sex are arrested for prostitution and referred to the general justice system. in many cases, the courts are ill-equipped to deal with the trauma these children and youth have endured. requires states to provide services to you who have been trafficked or are at the risk of being trafficked. it also redirects social security is -- social services to better identify and address the needs of traffic youth. my bill includes a number of provisions who -- to encourage him enhance, and support youth
in foster care to allow them to participate in age-appropriate activities and social events. i hope these provisions will increase opportunities for foster children to form meaningful connections and reduce the risk of vulnerability to domestic sex trafficking and other negative outcomes. forher major risk factor vulnerability to domestic sex trafficking for older youth in the child welfare system is a continued reliance on, get care careties -- on congregate facilities. these are also called group homes. they are targeted by traffickers and are really warehouses for youth that are rarely if ever allowed to engage in healthy social activities. bill focuses on connecting federally -- vulnerable children and limits --
for those remaining in congregat e care, the bill requires that youth have access to normal, age-appropriate activities. many youth in foster care report that they might not have gone into foster care in the first place had perverted of services been available to their biological family, which could have kept them safely at home. .youth response to the need for services such as mental health and subject -- and substance abuse treatment by redirecting funds from the social security -- social services block grant to address this need as well is to enhance and improve child welfare systems. report thatter care they feel uninvolved, unaware, and is connected to any planning around their care or future. they are not informed of their rights while in foster care. this can lead to a sense of disenfranchisement and a lack of
connection to siblings, relatives, or other caring adults. in many cases, this lack of connection contributes to the void so often preyed on by traffickers. my bill requires that state child welfare agencies provide ongoing family funding for older youth in foster care as well is greater participation of youth in planning for the future. we want to find those families for them. it also encourages states to find individuals willing to be involved on an ongoing basis with the youth in foster care. individuals who work with victims of domestic sex trafficking telik that the single biggest traffic to successful intervention with these victims of a lack of accessible and affordable housing. who have beenh emancipated from foster care, not having a place to sleep is often a reason why they enter the sex trade. improve housing
options for these at-risk youth, my bill redirects funds from the social services block grant in order to provide housing to traffic and other vulnerable youth. chairman reichert and ranking member dogbert, thank you a lot -- doggert, thank you a lot. i look forward to working with you and other members of the subcommittee as we move forward to prevent and address domestic sex trafficking. >> again, if any members have questions for senator hatch or any of the other colic that have testified today, you are free to submit them in writing. we will move onto our second panel, if they would please take their seats.
happy to see you all here today. on our second panel this afternoon, we will be hearing from -- i'm going to call her t because she said i could do that. izrtez s by t. walker pettigrew. mr. john ryan, ceo national center for missing and exploited children, thank you for being here. and foundert, ceo for his children the justice. melinda, phd executive director of youth care. and ms. ashley harris, child carere associate texans for children. thank you all for being here. have five minutes or a little more if you want to. >> thank you so much, chairman theodore to say thank you to you, the members of the county.
i am now 24 years of age, and i'm currently a student here in trinityon, d c at washington university. previous to be a student, i was a youth who grew up in pop -- in foster care for pretty much the first 18 years of my life. throughout that time from the 17, i was a victim of sexual explication and trafficking here domestically in the united states throughout the state of california, nevada, oregon, and of course your stay, washington. i andre to tell you why other youth in wasit -- in foster care are more honorable to be sexually trafficked. first ball, we accept and normalize being used as an object. we also experience areas people who controlling come in and out of our lives. we lack opportunities to gain meaningful operates -- relations is an positive to their -- and
positive attachment. exploiters, truckers, pants -- they all mean the same -- exploiters, truckers, pimps, they all mean the same thing. it amazes me fear for exploiters to hide their involvement, which continues to perpetuate the foster care vulnerability. -- as you'llect know, there is money provided to caregivers by the agencies to provide and serve. often this money is used i caregivers for their personal use or the use of their families or biological children. currently from my knowledge, there is no system set up to guarantee that money is actually being utilized for the child in placement. often times what happens is a foster parent will say something like you know i don't really care what you do, it is not my
worry as long as you don't die. i'm going to continue to get my paycheck. it is nothing but a paycheck. it really puts the youth in a compromising situation. what we begin to do as the youth in care is normalize that our purposes of being a financial benefit of others. so because of this, it makes it harder for youth and even for myself and my story to have seen the difference in bringing and finances to the foster home or of bringing money to an exploiter and their staple. foster care normalize is that other people are supposed to control our lives and circumstances. multiple roles such as public defenders and social workers come in and fluctuate in and out lives.h's most of them are strangers to them. these are people who dictate what happens in their lives spared where they live, what school they go to, and what decisions will be made for them
socially. foster care creates an ever- changing environments. this is convicted -- conducive to the parallel process of exploiters who seek to control. we also lack opportunity to gain meaningful relationships and positive attachment. how this plays out for others and myself -- opportunity to build these skills such as problem solving or for what it means to reconcile after an argument are denied in and said we are just moved to another placement. over 14lf, due to the placement i endured, the most consistent relationship i ever had while in care was with my pimp and his family. like me and other youth in care, we become accustomed to being isolated, much like the victims of domestic violence, by adapting to multiple moves from home to home. this allows us to easily adapt to when traffickers move us multiple times from hotel to hotel, city to city, and/or
state to state. these exporters go without fear of punishment due to the lack of attention from the population gone missing. no one looks for us. i really want to make this clear -- nobody looks for us. their puts us on radar. this is a makes no effort. there are no amber alerts, no posers when you than the foster care system domestic dirt oftentimes, group homes will avoid further youth missing due to interrupting payment. oftentimes from the system, it is always assumed that we have willingly run away. many times that is not the case. many times we are kidnapped or other circumstances. this the exploiters use to their advantage. the instability of foster care makes it easy for exploiters to hide their involvement, which continues to perpetuate our populations vulnerability. i believe however should be working with local programs to supports programs for youth to
transition into healthier lifestyle. we also can learn ways to identify the abuse. for myself and care, there were many times that i had many absences, and people knew i was absent, but those were red flags that should've have been paid attention to. welfare agencies also need to figure out ways to make these children visible when they go missing. i'm pretty sure that there are many people in society that would be willing to help, but they are not aware that these children are missing and that somebody cares about what has happened to them. be providealso trauma informed counsel and care at all times. this means that the agency should be actively working to gain and maintain these resources to do so. in addition, i believe cell phone hotlines or other ways to respond or interact with these youth should be developed. these youth also need to be
actively involved in the decision-making process of their life and their circumstances. in california, they have , ttings called tdm's decision-making programs. new york has something along the same process called family team, since -- family team confidence. the youth and their families come together, both biological and created, to make decisions about placement, choices, and things of that sort shared each of the constant ally. it is a great resource for some agencies do work with mentor ship programs. oftentimes the mentoring goes on continuing if the youth is not placement. i believe the youth should be provided a constant ally throughout their time in care, and a person should be available whether or not the youth is currently in placement. this also helps in regards to when the youth are on the streets or in the process of being exploited. we need to ensure that
these conversations are actually followed with federal actions received here today. and that in addition to all that i have said here, i also serve on the national foster youth council, and we have been actively working to provide recommendations to address this issue amongst the population. i want to say to wagon, chairman, members of the committee, and the human rights forect for girls commandin girls, and the audience. thank you all for working on behalf of these children. you are all appreciated with all you do to in the vulnerability of all children. thank you. >> good job. -- thankr test my, t you for your testimony, t. i let her go along because the special testimony with easier data does not mean the other for witnesses not something important to say. [laughter] you will be held to the five- minute rule. >> duly noted, mr. chairman.
thank you, t. for sharing your powerful story. thank you for inviting me to speak of this problem sets that of sex trafficking. of sex problem trafficking. this is in a problem since 1984 in our organization geared we were designated by congress to serve as the nation's clearinghouse on missing and exploited children's issues. we have several programs to address assault -- to address child sex trafficking, including our cyber tip line and on line reporting mechanism for reporting child sex trafficking and shop are not prepared additionally, sex child trafficking teams support law enforcement efforts to arrest and prosecute those who sell our children for sex. our critical middleweight unit, these are special case
management teams that handle cases of missing children who were also all possible that who are also possible sex trafficking victims. the innocenceh lost national initiative. it has served to provide analytical support to the sixes eighth innocent lost tax forces throughout the country. acrossask forces operate country. this is a targeted, coordinated, three-day sweep of child sex trafficking venues. these operations have rescued more than 2700 children who have been trafficked and arrested more than 1300 pimps. several of these prosecutions have resulted in a life sentences. this year, the youngest child recovered was 13 years of age. when they hear the term child sex trafficking, most americans think that it only happens in other countries, or that foreign children are brought here to be
sold in large cities. in fact, we have learned that most of the victims of child sex trafficking are american kids who are trafficked into small towns and large urban areas. if people are not aware of it, they are not looking for it. how prevalent is child sex trafficking? in a 20 foot long, one out of every eight endangered runaways reported to the national center were likely child so -- child sex trafficking victims. one out of it. this number has tripled since we --rted comparing children missing children to trafficked children. often overlooked aspect of child is trafficking is that it also a problem of missing children. many child sex trafficking victims are missing from their daynts, legal guardians, or care placement. these are the most vulnerable of children. traffickers know this. they actively target runaways and then lure them into the sex trade using psychological
malaise relation, -- psychological manipulation gamaliel drugs, and violence. pfizer drugs are easy targets for p -- foster children are easy targets for pimps. reported missing in 2012 who were likely sex trafficking victims, 67% were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran. 67%. let me give you one example. the national center reports a young girl who was 15. she had been reported missing 13 times before she was placed in foster care. law enforcement involved, and the pattern continued of her running away. we found throughout reports that this child had several tattoos, many of them pronounced. tattoos are a sign of branding by these pimps. they market these products,
these young girls, these victims. we were able to develop ways through public access data that this girl was being trafficked online, classified service. we sent that information to law enforcement. they set up a sting operation, they made a call to arrange a date with this young girl, and they were able to rescue her. this girl reported that for the last two years, she had been victimized on average five times per night for that two-year period. the most important thing we can do is to change the conversation the juvenile language issues to top protection issues. the children cannot just walk away. they must be rescued and treated as victims. all of child welfare agencies must report missing foster children to law enforcement. the national center working with law-enforcement when we have this information, we can help find the child before they are victimized. we have systems that are in
place in some states, but it must be universal, consistent, and mandated. thank you for your interest, and we look forward to working with this committee and all the proposed legislation that has been offered here today. >> thank you, mr. ryan. i would like to take just a moment to introduce our next witness, who happens to be from washington state and an all friend of mine back in our criminal justice days together. just as bridges from my home state, as i said, it has more than 19 years of experience with child where fair and has been -- .ith anxiet child welfare she has been an advocate it she tonded the center in 2006 reform washington state's juvenile justice and child welfare systems. recently, january 2010, you are given the advocacy spear at ward
, the national spiritual ward -- the advocacy spirit award. you were a defender of rights and dignity for our youth award in january 2010. it is good to see you, and i am happy that you were able to be here, and i understand it coincides with a conference that will be held tomorrow. >> thank you very much, chairman reichert. thank you for inviting my testimony today. it is an honor to participate in this discussion in the ways we can prevent come effectively intervene, -- prevent, effectively intervene, and eradicate the sexual exportation of children, especially in the foster care system. i am president and ceo of the center for children and youth justice peter it is a private nonprofit established in -- justice. it is a private nonprofit
established in 2006. as chairman reichert noted, i was a trial judge for 10 years in king county. during which time i presided over hundreds of child abuse, neglect, and liquid see cases. -- and the link would see cases. cases.delinquency lessons, noluable one part of the system, no one's system can address the multiple and complex needs of abused and neglected children. hasunately washington state a robust history of collaboration both cross discipline and cross system in child welfare. this has led to a number of changes and practices in our
child welfare system that has resulted in better outcomes for our children in foster care. the information that is coming to us now regarding the extent to which these children have been in foster care or are currently in foster care are becoming victims of sex trafficking, commercially exploited children, present a new reality which requires new approaches. i would like to focus my brief time on describing a systematic approach that might prove valuable in your response to this reality. about cseins unknown c. what we do know is that by bringing professionals in who interact with those who are either are or at risk of ,ecoming csec, inauthentic collaborative, and coordinated responses, we are more likely to create successful outcomes for these children. the state of washington is in the process of implementing such
a collaborative model. project respect is the working title for the ccyj project. andpurpose of the project of the protocol is to implement that statewide coordinated response that is best practiced and data-driven that will --ntify and engage in children and youth who are victims, not criminals, and to hold their perpetrators accountable. the combination of public and private funding last year, we brought together over 200 people, survivors, system professionals, advocate, and committed members from across the state, to discuss the context of csec in their community. with the result of this effort,
a draft protocol was prepared, vented to a number of statewide leaders, and finalize the this year, working together with our partner youth care, five sites have been trained on the protocol and on best practices in working with csec. also this year the washington state center for court research is leading an effort to work with stakeholders and those kylix sites, -- those pilot sites to develop data plans. the progress on the protocols and policy educations will be reviewed by the newly created courtedon state csec native committee, established in 2013 legislative session and convened by the washington attorney general. ussons learned have brought to some promising systemic actions that could be undertaken by this subcommittee. first, providing guidelines, headlines, directions,
and resources. providing guidance and incentives for collaboration on the pitch for collaboration and cooperation -- for collaboration and cooperation. critical to success is the necessary participation of the state and regional child welfare agency at its highest level. incentives to focus on children missing from care and recruit and train specialized foster homes to receive those who are found to be csec. safe and stable housing is the best option. specific resources through the court improvement act for judicial training and identification of sea sack -- of csec.
providing trading to child welfare workers on the sec,tification of c including special assessment tools and mandating changes in state child welfare laws so as the definition of an abused child. i think you for this opportunity to be imparted of finding solutions to side -- to sex trafficking. i would submit that whatever efforts we undertake to address the proliferation of sex trafficking of our former and current foster youth should be research-based, collaborative, or donated, the driven, and -- coordinated, the driven, and establish. we must recognize that this is a crime of mobility, it requires a consistent response. a response that is not merely moved the incidents from one
neighborhood, one county, one state to another. thank you very much. >> i would like to introduce another friend from washington state. has over 27 years of experience developing and implementing re-engagement programs for out of school and homeless youth. she is the executive director of youth care, which helps homeless youth and operates the only program in washington state providing residential services for sexually exploited youth. you are recognized for five minutes. >> good afternoon. i am grateful for the opportunity to address the subcommittee on this important topic. i am the director of youth care, located in seattle washington. since 1994, youth care has been a leader in providing effective
services to prepare for life. foundednated -- we were to eliminate the sexual explication of children in our county. runaway and homeless youth are high risks for sexual explication. studies estimate that there is an exorbitant prevalence between these two populations. we operate the bridge continuum of services for sexually exploited youth commit consisting of identification and outreach strategies, community- based advocates, which i like to call lifelines, emergency seltzer programs -- shelter programs, and education and employment training which offers these young people an opportunity to find a way out of exploitation. these services are trauma informed and they are often
victims informed and --. -- victim informed. has significant problems with sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. in 2008, a study of king county conducted by debra boyer identify 238 miners involved in restitution -- in prostitution. the long-term risk for using foster well -- foster care is well documented. it is only in recent years that the prevalence of sex trafficking in foster care has been widely recognized. many of the runaway and homeless youth are part of the foster care system or have aged out. we see youth every day being trafficked and exploited.
it is the system's involvement combined with their homeless status that makes them uniquely vulnerable to traffickers. toill identify key issues address these. through sexation trafficking due to prior abuse and lack of social and familial support and frequency of running .way we recommend that the childcare agency probe -- agency create a strategic plan to prevent trafficking -- the youth in foster care are often sit -- often victims of sex trafficking via social workers or foster parents. youth care recommends that screening, intake, and ongoing service planning should include measures to screen for indicators of trafficking, such as child sexual abuse. we further recommend that all child welfare staff and foster parents receive mandatory training on identifying and responding to sex trafficking
and that specific resources be dedicated to meet the needs of the victims. and finally we recommend that social worker and child welfare agencies participate in regional task forces or protocol development in order to respond to sex trafficking while partnering with our runaway and homeless youth programs across the nation. it helps lay the framework for a cross-country and very deep intervention strategy for these young people. care u is missing from cannot legally be housed in programs receiving runaway and homeless youth money or hud funds. we recommend that our language be amended to allow the provision of services to state dependent youth of other placements are deemed inappropriate. ae scope -- the fourth is scope of prevalence -- a scope and prevalence of sex trafficking. data strategies -- it is
recommended that data strategy should be implemented to accurately quantify how many youth in the foster care system and in the runaway and homeless youth systems are the and subject to sex trafficking. finally, responses to sex trafficking at the state and local levels are very inconsistent. youth care recommends the policies being enacted were allegations of sex trafficking are automatically screened for in the -- automatically screened for investigation. using foster care is a significant risk to not least of which is the victimization through sex trafficking. significant resources and strategies should be that it in order to identify victims and increase the capacity of child welfare agencies to protect youth from these harmful and devastating experiences. ready years ago youth care ran a
program to help 36 young women off the street and out of the victimization of prostitution. i see and hear from many of these 36 young women that i knew. they call, they say thank you. havehave jobs, they college degrees, they have families, they have lives. wereoung people i see now not even born when they were in my care. how many thousands of young lives have been lost in those 30 years seattle have many more before we recognize that these are not in court bowl in moral delinquents that need to be dealt with. immoralrage a bowl and to liquids that need to be dealt with. they need love to regain their lives. and how long before those children become our children? i would sincerely like to thank the subcommittee in hearing
recommendations for child welfare system responses and responses to sex trafficking. we appreciate the dedication of the subcommittee and particularly of you, chairman reichert, to provide leadership in bipartisan commitment to combating sex trafficking. we look forward to your continued efforts and collaboration and we are honored to be a resource as you move forward on this important issue. >> thank you for your testimony. you are recognized. >> my name is ashley harris. we are a statewide nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to improving the lives of texas children to policy change. as a former caseworker for child protective services in texas for over four years i truly appreciate the opportunity to provide first-hand account of how this horrible crime impacts foster kids and those guided to protect them. i have to first acknowledge key testimony because i can agree -- i think we can all can agree who
the real experts are. thank you for your testimony. toh my testimony i hope offer recommendations for the committee's consideration and opportunities for improvement. i have included additional items for the committee's consideration in written testimony. i will specifically highlight the role that training has on the protection of vacuum. those removed from home -- protection. those removed from home -- traffickingf victims who are reported missing ran away from either foster care or a group home, i have been reflecting on my days as a former caseworker. a bright and sunny young adult. i worked with her for over three years and knew her as my runner due to her monthly habit of running away from every single placement. since birth her life and a sense
of self was a testified on how others abused her body. she sometimes sold herself to others as a way to exert control over her body and her life. ofragic and flawed way thinking, that was a direct consequence of all she endured. each time she returned i would pick her up. next base.to the i never stop to ask the questions that would allow me to truly understand her experience and the impact of being away from foster care, all along, -- all alone, exploited, and without summer to support them. -- someone to support them. getting her shelter was more than a priority -- more of a priority than ensuring her social well-being.
for a child's ability to thrive both in and out of the child welfare system -- -- the caseworker had not provided the skills and support needed to understand the impact of trauma on healthy child development and identify the behaviors and characteristics that increase the likelihood that children in foster care will be victims of exploitation and sex trafficking. for many state child welfare agencies, chain -- training is not skill development. basic training on human trafficking and appropriate resources should be provided to all professionals who are likely to come into contact with possible minor victims that maybe on runaway. stephanie's story represents the experience of many homeless teens living on the streets by themselves with no one to protect them.
the system must respond in an expedited manner and make efforts to locate a child and address their safety and well- being. the child welfare system has a responsibility to adjust the need of foster children and share their supervision and security. this is -- the susceptibility to -- must take precedent at local child welfare organizations. these children are our for -- are all of our children. job at do a better identifying, protecting, and supporting phone local youths like stephanie to prevent them from becoming another statistic. thank you so much. >> thank you for your testimony. i could not help but think back to the days that i was on the street as a police officer, as a
homicide detective. riverworking the green case, that was centered around young girls and young ladies who were victims on the street being taken advantage of. sadly some were taken by a monster who was prowling the streets. what my memory brought me back to were some of the things you all set. especially your comment about 30 years ago making the same recommendations. thinking back, not much has changed. a little bit. some has changed. not nearly enough. we have so much more work to do. what i also appreciate about our first panel was that they did bring some solutions, we are
working on some legislation. what i appreciate about this panel was not a problem for the alsors here today, but you provided input as to what you see as solutions, which is really tremendous help for us. we need to meet before the hearing. first of all, i know that every -- to tell your story, i know it is hard. i have trouble telling my own story as you and i witnessed earlier. for being here and thank you for having the courage to come and testify today. ideasve heard some of the about what we can do to prevent
kids from entering into the life of human trafficking. view, it point of would be helpful to know what can we do as members of congress. what can the federal government do to help ensure that young kids get a good permanent loving home and stay off the streets and stay out of this world that we knows -- that we know is so destructive. i would like to say everything that was spoken at this panel -- as someone who has the perspective of living the reality. one thing i think would be , i know from my own story is that we all escape in different ways. it really comes down to
comprehensive and specific care and services. boys,eans for both girls, i think that what is so important is that we have it where it is comprehensive. professionals did it is often dictum informed. i think that is the best way we can really start to find the gaps, the holes in which you start actually following through. with thef it started connection to a youth advocate. it takes a conglomerate of different people to go together and say we are going to stand up and start standing up for these. does that answer your question? >> very well. go ahead. >> i have in other thing i want to say.
in addition, i think that we need to really look outside and think outside the box. something i find to be very helpful in addition to all of is us thinking outside of although ieffect -- would not be in placement and still maintain contact, i still had e-mail and cell phone. no matter what she would maintain contact with me. i think we need to go to the real-time analogy of -- as professionals and as people who want to make a difference we would need to understand that labeling israel. -- is a real. it becomes very offensive and makes it hard for young people to vehicle to overcome their victimized asian. -- their victimization.
they are often times not of legal age to consent to sex. i think, as a survivor, i would not say i am a survivor but a driver and overcome her. -- a thriver and overcomer. >> thank you. we are going to keep your phone number so we can give you a call and ask questions later. >> no problem. >> justice bridge, what do you see as the court's role in reducing the vulnerability of youth in foster care? how can courts work with child welfare agencies to ensure that these kids are kept safe from harm? >> i am going to put her on speed dial as well. the courts definitely have a role. on the child welfare side of things unfortunately we get
silo. on one hand child welfare, on the other hand juvenile to assist -- juvenile justice. they certainly represent the same needs, the same trauma as their pathway to either juvenile justice or child welfare. the courts have done a much better job of working with the agencies in order to ensure that our work is consistent, that we are governed by best practices and by actual data that exists rather than by anecdote or by the comfort of the adults in the system as opposed to the voices of the young people who are a part of the systems. all of that is really important. one of the things on this particular issue that is so critical for us to work together on the -- is that identification is key. scienceto have the best possible, including specific assessments in order to be of
.dentify who these children are many children in the state of washington are not on the juvenile justice -- many children in the state of washington don't end up in the juvenile justice system by being labeled as prosecutors. they come to a variety of misdemeanors and offenses and the like, the position being the most frequent felony arrest. there are all caps of red flags. there are all kinds of good learning that we could, can, and should know and learning together to identify those. that regardrole in is not realizing the child but they can intervene more positively to impact a child's life and make sure they have the resources that can interrupt the even moreward being deeply traffic.
one of the things that struck a chord with me was what we have learned in developing the statewide protocol in the state of washington. in many instances, and this is true for foster kids as well as for children who are not in the foster care system, what in the early days of their being trafficked, they are still connected. they are still connected primarily to their schools. they may not even be connected to their families or homes because they are on the run. they show up. maybe they go to one or two classes. it is an incredible opportunity ,or educators or for the court if they end up being directed to the court because of truancy. people have to start asking the right questions. those rightnow what questions are. in order to ask the right questions we need to be aware of what the warning signs are, like
income that isng unexplained, cell phones that are maybe -- cell phones, maybe two or three of them at a time. we need to be smarter and we need to yet smarter together. that is how the court can work this social service agency. >> thank you very much. you talk about the caseload and i saw several heads nodding back and forth. caseload, areof there some national standards on what is appropriate for working care and how does that compare to what we have in texas? child welfare league of america recommends a case of 12 to 15 children at a time. we are nearly double that in texas recommend that double that recommendation in texas.
>> how do you find that in washington state? >> the caseloads have been reduced over the course of the past decade. we are still 19 or 20 on average. knowave to ask before you when you have the spark it thoroughly vulnerable case. children have been on the run from foster care. if you have 19 or 10 on your caseload, that is far too many. one aspect is the flow of federal dollars to help out with child welfare. you, since youk heard the testimony of our colleagues and we heard yours. if there are certain things within this jurisdiction that we
do -- that you recommend we do that you provide us your counsel. really looking to see, isn't there a way now immediately that we can agree on some bipartisan legislation that might help supplement what you all are doing at the state level. i know so much of this lease be occurring at the state level. you have a thought on that? >> i would like to talk about about what is already being done in another arena. if we look at how we are treating young people who are foreign victims of trafficking, my organization alone just received a $1.5 million grant to be able to serve young people year-round. these people have trauma informed care, they have an education specialist, to have people working on their legal
issues, they have really appropriate supervision and care. it is a wonderful system to take care of these miners -- minors. anotherther side, program receives -- runaway and homeless youth programs were designed and set up and appropriated originally to serve the need of sexually exploded children in our community. this -- be helping helping the 475 programs? to become the infrastructure to respond a lot easier than to set up yet another system, couldn't we work in parallel with child welfare to use the resources we have and expand them to at least have some equity in how we treat our foreign victims and our local victims? want to addd you something? >> i think the! that i would like to make and i was rushing to my remarks in order to make the appropriate
timeframe, what the doctor was saying, what it really amounts to is mandating changes in state child welfare laws so as to include trafficked child's and the definition of an abused child. i believe that the representative noted this as well. the fact is it is the third parties that are the perpetrator of the abuse and it doesn't fall within most state statues. federal government can and should be a leader in this because our state statues, 99% of them mimic what the federal statute provides. these are our kids. how could this not the abuse? these are our children in the most fundamental way. we have taken them from their homes, we have made a determination that those homes are not safe and not providing for their well-being and are not
the best permanent place for them. and yet when they run we do not look. it is shameful. >> do you have a comment? plucks i just think that while we know resources are tight, it is always going to be that way. there are administrative things we can do to make the system work better for these young people. a young person in child welfare cannot have access to a transitional will that transitional living program funded by hud or the runaway homeless youth networks. those kind of things preventing young people from actually getting access to the care they need. instead of being able to go directly into a transitional living program funded by hud with, informed care, you're not eligible. these things make no sense on the ground.
likely to make some small changes that would make huge differences in the lives of our young people. >> these are very constructive recommendations to the extent that they are not already part of your written testimony, please feel free to supplement so we can look for a way to respond quickly to your recommendations. thank you very much to all of you. >> thank you very much, mr. young you are recognized for five minutes. >> what an excellent panel we have here. t, your testimony was inspiring. your lights and that your life story is riveting. i appreciate you personalizing thatumanizing this affront all of you are doing good work to address. i was particularly struck with your systematic approach to try to address sexual trafficking in the state of washington. i think we need to do more hard analysis of data.
and your team of stakeholders in the state have been doing that and developed the protocol here. i would dive that i would like to dive a little bit deeper into that with you. able to learn, as i understand it, about best practices or generally accepted practices in other states. how did that inform development of washington state's protocol? and how did you do find these best practices from other states? >> would that it's they were theye, dashwood at its were divine, that would be easier. divine, that it were that would be easier.
minisummit or small summit brought together judges, detention workers, juvenile probation counselors, school --ple, community at community activists, social service providers, and the department of social so -- social services. all trying to come together to briefly share their experience on the ground but also sharing best practices from the perspective of their various disciplines. in addition, before we went out into the yield we also did independent research and was assisted in that by dr. debra boyer, who is a nationally known expert on practices relating to csec. we developed a set of recommendations that are included in that protocol about best practices.
>> it sounds like you did a lot of fieldwork, a lot of focus groups. him that is often times how this information is gathered. perhaps we should follow-up up with dr. boyer or somebody else with respect to some of the homework that occurred in terms of data analysis and so forth going into those meetings. wonder, as with many other areas of public policy, whether they are is something lacking in terms of -- whether there is something lacking. do you see opportunities for us to improve that's nationally or do you think they should be state-by-state databases of information collected from case files, as i know you are in the process of doing in washington state, or other things? maybe you could speak to that. >> i will let the doctor do that. the answer is certainly yes.
not moving this population from one state to the next or one county to the next before federal leadership moves -- we are trying to figure out what data is being collected. we know it is very little. there should be consistent sexnitions of what trafficking means, what child sex trafficking means, and that leadership needs to come from the federal government. when the law enforcement or the data, howollecting are they collecting it so it all means the same thing? that is what should be in the federal database. >> thank you. one final point. in consulting with the director of the more center for prevention of child sex abuse at john hopkins university, she indicated that much of the emphasis needs to be placed not just on treatment or punishment,
but also interventions to prevent the occurrence of sexual trafficking. on the that is spot -- that woulde not only save money could protect the longer run and i would be open to that testimony. >> some quick thoughts. we have instituted a national safe place, which is on all of our metro buses in king county. personond to any young in a king county library or community center that looks in and looks like they need help. we have over 3000 sites right now. us, in 45iver calls minutes we meet that run that meet that does him one of the largest counties in the nation
and help recover that young person who may have set foot out of the house just because of broccoli or curfew. the national safe place model is an interesting come easy low- cost cost way to get your community involved. i think there's a lot of early interventions with families who end up in shelter programs. with some small interventions, -- there is atem lot we can do with foster families and identifying and training them on what it looks beginninga child was to get into this or beginning to perform survival sex in our communities. i think there is a lot of training and not very expensive interventions we can do to to create a very thicker safety net
for our young people. >> i want to thank you for holding this hearing on addressing sex trafficking. i am interested in working with the members of the previous -- and anygards to other members from both sides of the aisle -- on how federal laws and policies may be improved to ensure the safety and well-being of youth at risk of abuse and neglect. last year more than 1500 foster children aged out of care when they turned 18. whether orly worried not these individuals were prepared for light but if the system is able to provide for them the sense of family and protection they deserve. our job as representatives is to ensure the foster system protects them and prepares them
for successes in life. i thank you for your dedication in helping others in foster youth. you mentioned at least once about the red flag that goes unnoticed by child welfare agencies. can you tell us some of what these red flags are. >> i think some of them are very much mentioned within this panel. particularly i want to say that specifically from the ages of 10 to 13 come i was still in act out of fashion in and out of the education system. i want to go back to the absences. timenk that if we take the to integrate the education system in regards to identifying thisducating them about population, i think that is very much important. i know he would have asked me at 13 what was going on.
life because i did not know anything separate written to the education of others, much like the education of the system, i seek to find a new and different me. i think definitely the education system, i think the cell phone thing is very important. if a young child has two or three cell phones he had to really take that in and say, what is that? what does that look like? context end up in the of the language. often times you see young people using different language for different things. there are certain terminology referring -- certain terminology. my wife and law means another girl that has been victimized by the same exploiter. terminologythe being used, education, and incorporating the education system in our hopes to make
progress in identifying and helping the victims, but also paying attention to changes of personality, withdrawing from people, being more isolated. if you were to ask me at 13 i would not see anything wrong because i was trained perceived my life in this way. younger people in the foster care system are not taught about healthy relationships. we need to understand that that is a red flag, having relationships that are not so healthy or are not clearly visible as far as what the relationship is. those are red flags. i think the biggest thing is that it has taken a long time for me to get the place that i am and to use the semantics that i do. i do not have the ability to
speak in this way. i did not have the opportunities. my hope is that we can make these changes so that other young people can come to the table and show their abilities. >> you had mentioned that the foster system hinders youth decision-making. what type of decisions should they be more informed and? >> even regards to a young person sleeping over at a friends house, that is not their decision nor is it the decision of the caregiver. often times you have to give approval from the social worker. there are disruptions in the home to to foster parents saying you cannot call that person. it goes against their state rights. only the judge can make that decision.
does that answer your question have to >> -- your question? lie on the other states doing this to >> we are tying this in a discussion with a number of states, including ohio. we are getting great feedback. i think there is momentum now. .e have reports from two states i think that is encouraging, the fear that may have been prevalent with some of the social welfare agencies. many times, nobody is even looking for these children. you mentioned at the age of 18 when you age out, that means
nobody will have ever looked for them. they are probably forever lost and will continue in whatever environment they have been in. reports, can get the the hope of stopping the new cycle that they are found in is hopeless. states are listening. i think at the federal level if we want a uniform consistent approach him at that is the best model. every child and every state should be afforded the same level of protection. >> i want to thank all of the witnesses. >> i ask unanimous consent to insert in the record an article about today possibly ring topic, entitled "detect foster children from sex trafficking your co-it was written -- trafficking." it has specific policy
recommendations for us to consider. you all may want to take a look at that. "usa today". >> thank you to the panel for the testimony. it has been kind of lonely up here but we are almost done. i appreciate this topic. obviously we are talking about something that crosses a cross party lines, unites us as a nation, and as people. this type of problem needs to be addressed and needs to be something that we stand united against. i appreciate everything you guys are doing. what i found very fascinating by your testimony, and i read your testimony and i will read you a statement that you provided in your written testimony -- it says "while i was in care my social workers were aware that i was being exploited and did nothing about its." i would like to know how that happens. what do you mean by that?
is thati mean by that even as an emancipated youth, when i would try to get some of the documents of my upbringing, when i went back to get some of my files, it was clearly stated in the documents that i had, due to years of exploitation. it was the fact that they were -- it was a fact they were made aware. in my county there were not resources, there were not ways to help the abuse. even though i am 24 and we have made some strides within these --t couple of years literally we have to really pay toention and stay focused the vulnerability of these youth. .> that really concerns me
i have met so many people in the system and they are outstanding people. they are people who have dedicated their lives not for the paycheck but for the mission. when i hear something like that that tells me that something in the system is failing. what i would like to do is maybe here from another panelist as to how that happens and how that is not discovered in the system and how does a worker whose mission and duty is to take care of a fails tothis situation do anything about it even though the record shows that they are aware of it. >> as a former caseworker i can speak to that. not --admit that it may more often it is not as explicit .
youngting on some of the woman i worked with, i am think they were victims and i just did not have the skills and training to be able to identify that. documented in case record, i think a lot of those records, given the high turnover rate that you have, that information may not be shared with the new caseworkers. they may not have been long history of understanding child behaviors and in being able to determine this is something that the child -- how can we ensure they are not victimized. to get to that point is additional training at a skill set that many caseworkers are not receiving when they are new at the job. i have to admit that many new caseworkers are young. they're right out of college, they never had experience working with vulnerable children and families. they do not automatically have the knowledge to be able to understand what the problem looks like and then how to respond to it appropriately. i think access to resources is
another issue. i know in texas there are limited resources for victims of trafficking. those resources are not available in all areas of texas. it is a huge part. when it comes to those times and you know a child is being victimized, the system has to provide that caseworker the ability to respond appropriately and the skill set to be able to identify that. this happens way more than his acknowledged. i think it is because no one really has jurisdiction over this issue. very few states is the purview of child welfare to intervene in these particular cases. i have been shocked at the young people that come into my youth care -- when we called to report from our drop-in center that a young person is being trafficked , child welfare says call the police. this is a 13-year-old.
this is an issue of no one takes ownership of these young people. no one adopts them as their concern or their ongoing concern. these multidisciplinary teams that justice bridges talking , they will all be accountable. i think we need to have policy that says where the jurisdiction lies. i would also say there is some tothere is a lot of notions what he brings up about teaching young people agency. it is not rocket science. adolescents are not green monsters from the blue lagoon. we know what makes young people feel self-confident and they can stand up to themselves and maybe even do some reporting of their own things. these young people are not afforded the opportunities to learn to drive. you take a ride that you take a drive from somebody. you cannot go in an overnight with your girlfriends. you figure out a way to have an
overnight. you are not afforded the developmental miles and opportunities that you would be in a regular home. i think that is one of the biggest to services that we do to these young people out of fear of liability. i think that goes with who's responsible for creating this as a young adult and fostering that kind of growth and development. >> i appreciate it. the judge would like to respond. we will let the judge talk. i want to say that there is somebody who is responsible at law, ultimately for these cases. that is a failure on the judicial system's part in huge magnitude. that stems back to a lack of training and a lack of ability to ask the right questions to my to be alert to the cases that are presented, and to approach
the caseworker, to summon the caseworker into court and say we have this child on our caseload, where is she? >> i appreciate that input. my practice of law i dealt with caseworkers and child protective services. it is a tough job. not to have that essential person, these should be the cases that rise to the top that say we have something very significant going on here and to take care of it. >> i just had one more thing to say. the i think the one thing that just out of lack of knowledge and fear of we haveon, i think
judges who are misinformed or not clearly educated. we need to be clear when we say they are basically locked like a dog in a kennel. as we do for this issue to the resources and protocols need to be a plummeted to do with these young people. >> i yield back. >> thank you all for being here for a little over two hours of your hearing. again howt to say much i appreciate what you all are doing to help our young people across this country. thank you for being here today. there were a number of things that struck a lot the members today. i know for me again it always
brings me back to those days when i was working with those young people on the street. one of the things said about healthy relationships and not really knowing what a healthy relationship was, when you think about it most people in this country did not understand what she just said. -- when you say you didn't know what a family was, what love was, people do not get it. i get it. i get it. i also wanted to mention that we have had a series of hearings. one of those hearings a few months ago was about children being children and allowing foster kids to participate in sports and get rides home with coaches and other parents and
get a drivers license and -- so, that is a part of this whole effort as we move forward and have additional hearings. like to do is provide some of the thoughts we were having along the lines of what legislation might look like , for those to you, get your input, so we can make sure that this is right. -- to get this right. it is about saving lives, about saving the lives of our children. thank you all very much. if members have additional questions for the witnesses, they will submit them to you in writing. -- wereciate receiving would appreciate receiving your response for the record within two weeks. the committee stands adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
talking about the fight over obama care and elevated the national debate. >> he spoke to reporters afterwards and reporters said he was vague about whether he would try to continue to defund health care law. we'll show his remarks on the fundraiser again at 2:20 own on c-span. we'll have more on the health care law when congressman fred upton of michigan is our guest. he is the chair of the house energy committee and talks about the problem with the health care.gov website. on news makers he talked about the committee's oversight role with the health care law. >> every week, preview what it will look like for the next -- >> we have